Are you ready for a random story? (Ok let’s be honest, if you’ve read The Small Seed for any amount of time, random stories aren’t really anything out of the norm!)
Here goes. Last month I decided that I needed to start wearing gloves when I do the dishes, as this winter has really done a number on my hands. So I bought a box of gloves. But as I opened the box and pulled them out, out dropped a packet of flower seeds. (Random right? I felt like I was a kid again with a box of crackerjacks!)
Since we don't really have any place to plant flowers, I set the packet of seeds aside and didn’t think much more about it. A few days later I was cleaning up and saw the packet, so I took it to the garbage with the intent to toss it, but for some reason I couldn’t do it.
Funny enough, it’s now been over a month and I still have that packet of seeds that I can’t bring myself to get rid of.
As I saw this packet of seeds on my counter this morning, I had a little aha moment, as I remembered this story:
“ A sweet seven-year-old show[ed] her grandfather a small tomato plant she had started from seed as part of a second-grade school project.
She explained that from one tiny seed would come a plant. And if the plant were cared for, it would grow many tomatoes that would each have many seeds.
She said, “And if all of those seeds were planted and grew more tomatoes, and you planted all of those seeds, in a few seasons you would have millions of tomatoes.”
“All,” she said in amazement, “from one little seed.”
But then she said, “I almost killed my plant. I left it in a dark room and forgot to water it. When I remembered the plant, it was all wilted and dead looking. I cried because I thought of all of those millions of tomatoes that would never grow.”
She was then excited to tell her grandfather about the “miracle” that happened.
She explained, “Momma said maybe the plant wasn’t dead. Maybe all it needed was some water and some light to bring life back.
“And she was right. I gave the plant some water, and I put it in the window for light. And guess what?” she asked. “It came back to life, and now it’s going to grow millions of tomatoes!”
Her small tomato plant, so full of potential but so weakened and wilted from unintentional neglect, was strengthened and revived through the simple ministration of water and light by the little girl’s loving and caring hands.”
My aha moment was this. The thing that is killing me about throwing out the seeds is that they represent potential. Like the tomato plant, in each packet of seeds lies hundreds if not thousands of flowers, waiting to bloom. Call me a packrat (which I’m not) or a tree hugger (which I may be), but in a strange way this little packet is symbolic.
This packet of seeds is like each of us. Look around. Everyone around you (including you, your relatives, your neighbors) are all children of God. Each of us, and them, and you, has divine worth and a divine heritage. Our potential for good is endless!
As we fulfill our potential, and help others fulfill theirs, we find joy. But how do we fulfill our potential? I'm no expert, but I think it has more to do with helping others, than furthering our agenda. I think it's more about what we give, do and become, and not about what we look like or have (the world has sure turned that one on its head hasn't it?!).
Perhaps you (or someone you know) are feeling like the tomato plant, “weakened and wilted from unintentional neglect”. Don’t toss out your packet of seeds just yet! Find some way to serve someone else today. See your own potential to do good, to bless others, to create beauty, and lift those that are around you.
Truly we are all small seeds. Can you imagine how beautiful the world would be if we each did what we could to bloom and serve and give, right where we are, however big or small?
I think I’ll go do some planting.